I’m still swimming deep against the current of a deadline and trying to tread water through all the ordinary things and then moving against the waves of extra things that I add, because who am I to pass up an opportunity? I tell myself these things that cost the present pay off in the future. And they do, many of them do. But for fuck’s sake. I think I would like to sit for a while, in the absence of guilt over the other thing I should be doing. Soon. Just one more insane weekend of writing-writing-writing.

I keep thinking, “I could sleep for a week.” But actually I’m not able to sleep for more than a few hours at a stretch. It’s too hot, it’s too cold, the wind woke me up, I’m thirsty, I need to pee. I’m so human. The heft of these days is so much.One of the beautiful and heavy things about the work I get to do in the world is how very much it “teaches me mortality.” And still, sometimes I forget how many little things I love. Jack Gilbert again.


I imagine the gods saying, We will
make it up to you. We will give you
three wishes, they say. Let me see
the squirrels again, I tell them.
Let me eat some of the great hog
stuffed and roasted on its giant spit
and put out, steaming, into the winter
of my neighborhood when I was usually
too broke to afford even the hundred grams
I ate so happily walking up the cobbles,
past the Street of the Moon
and the Street of the Birdcage-Makers,
the Street of Silence and the Street
of the Little Pissing. We can give you
wisdom, they say in their rich voices.
Let me go at last to Hugette, I say,
the Algerian student with her huge eyes
who timidly invited me to her room
when I was too young and bewildered
that first year in Paris.
Let me at least fail at my life.
Think, they say patiently, we could
make you famous again. Let me fall
in love one last time, I beg them.
Teach me mortality, frighten me
into the present. Help me to find
the heft of these days. That the nights
will be full enough and my heart feral.

Your prompt: “I imagine the gods saying…”


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